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English medium or learning English? – The Island

In view of the UGC President’s latest announcement regarding the establishment of a digital university in the upcoming academic session, it is time to mention that the specter of coronavirus has been haunting education policy makers.

By AK GHOSH |

In view of the UGC President’s latest announcement of a digital university to be set up during the next academic session, it is time to mention that the specter of the Coronavirus has been haunting education policy makers for more than two years and it was undoubtedly technology education that came to their rescue. Microsoft Teams, Zoom, Skype, Google Hangout and other apps have enabled everyone to communicate and exchange knowledge with each other.

Universities have also embraced these solutions, but the time has come to consider whether India can come up with the concept of a digital university, as visualized by the National Education Policy (NEP 2000), thus providing learners a new learning experience? It sounds exhilarating to think of attending a class whenever you want through pre-recorded sessions, asking the teacher questions and receiving answers instantly because the teacher is logged in at the same time. Also, it could be a time of financial relief as there is no need to travel or stay in a hostel.

The project to create digital universities is based on the objective of the national education policy to increase the gross enrollment rate in higher education in the country from the current 26% to 50% by 2035. However, on Based on global experience, there is concern that the quality of education provided by these universities may be compromised. The concept of digital universities was developed so that students get almost immediate feedback from teachers through emails or online discussions. When the term originated, it applied to things that were simulated by the computer, such as virtual memory.

Now it has applied to things that exist physically and are created by means of computers. In fact, the concept of digital universities originated with the idea of ​​a wireless university at the BBC. In the tele-university concept, lessons were given on radio and television in the name of “live university” which took the form of an open university. Online courses mean that students will learn at their own pace by reading course material, working on course activities, writing assignments, and interacting with teachers and other students via teleconference.

Digital classroom environments will be accessible to any student provided they have access to a computer or internet connection. This can allow for dynamic interaction with teachers and among the students themselves. The synergy that can exist in student-centered digital classrooms is one of the most vital traits of the digital learning format. Virtual Global University in Germany offers a graduate program in information and management where students can have access to a vast network of people and interactions. They are able to work at their own pace. Hence the importance of developing these skills, including creativity, communication and the application of knowledge.

However, the fact remains that a digital university cannot offer face-to-face interactions. Thus, students would be deprived of opportunities for better communication and deeper understanding. Their computer literacy can also deter them from adopting new technologies, which can lead to incomplete learning and poor performance. The performance of many DeVry University students in the United States was reviewed some time ago. The university offers online and contact versions of all its courses, using the same textbooks, assessments, assignments and course materials for each format. Even though the courses are apparently identical, students who registered online performed less well.

As a result, online students would be more likely to drop out. The hardest hit would be the reluctant few and those entering virtual classes with low marks in their previous exams. The weakest students would be the most affected. An overwhelming benefit to student learning from the push of information technology has yet to be seen when simple chalk and talk methods could have done just as well. We haven’t thought of such a good alternative to the lecture ~ the discussion method that has been central to the teaching-learning experience.

No instructional technology has been developed to replace the cooperative learning that takes place in group projects, field studies, recitals, and presentations. It is generally accepted that students do not simply learn from textbooks; if so, teachers would not be needed. It is only when additional textbooks and study materials are used to address a topic for class discussion that the teaching and learning process becomes real. This is further accentuated by projects and assignments followed by end-of-semester exams.

Lack of access, whether for economic or logistical reasons, can exclude otherwise eligible students from digital courses. This is an important issue in rural and socio-economically disadvantaged neighborhoods. Internet access can be a significant cost for users of a digital university. Students and facilitators should be able to use a variety of search engines and be comfortable browsing the web, as well as knowledge of newsgroups, FTP procedures, and email. Even the most sophisticated technology is not one hundred percent reliable.

At the same time, to successfully participate in a digital university online program, students must be well-organized, self-motivated, and possess a high degree of time-management skills. An online teacher must compensate for the lack of physical presence by creating a supportive environment in a digital classroom where all students feel comfortable participating. Frustration with computers and teachers’ fear of dealing with new things can make them unacceptable to students.

A digital classroom environment means the transfer of traditional pedagogy to electronic pedagogy in which the teacher becomes a facilitator of the learning process. This new pedagogy assumes that the teacher is qualified in the new techniques. For many, this can be a threatening experience. It may be important to recognize that some subjects may not be taught online in a digital university because the electronic medium does not allow for the best teaching method.

Examples are practical subjects, such as public speaking, surgery, dental hygiene and sports where physical movement contributes to the achievement of learning objectives. Blended courses can be a solution, making this part of the course more accessible to more people who would otherwise have difficulty getting to campus. An online program should reflect the use of student dialogue and group discussions. Quality education can only be provided in a digital university if the curriculum is developed or converted to meet the needs of online medium.

The task of accessing both curriculum products and curriculum experts is an important issue for the success of a digital university. Since students may not have access to all of the program’s products, it is likely that scientific visualization will be used as a teaching tool. The program may not be easily updated or very interactive. The use of electronic mail can be effective for the exchange of information. Internet videoconferencing may not be a practical substitute. From an administrative point of view, the issue of accreditation becomes relevant. Where would the credits go? How to maintain intellectual property rights? How will the issue of faculty control over content and curriculum be preserved?

These questions should be addressed first. Students may not be able to achieve dramatic moments that sometimes result in witticisms, humor, and other elements that help add joy to the teaching and learning process. If a colorful presentation using PowerPoint does not lead to lively class discussion, it will be of no use.

But the teacher on the stage in front of many students can do wonders. It is always difficult for the teacher in traditional mode to get their point across without facial gestures or vocal cues. It can create class animation ~the thrill of being with students~ that is missing online. (The Statesman / ANN)